A CATHOLIC priest has apologised for comparing Taoiseach Enda Kenny to Adolf Hitler.
Parishioners in Togher, Drogheda were stunned at the newsletter where Fr Thomas Daly likened Mr Kenny's speech in the Dail to one delivered by Hitler.
The leaflet was entitled 'Heil Herr Kenny!' and made several comparisons between Hitler and the Taoiseach.
Mr Kenny's speech last week criticised the Vatican of "downplaying the rape and torture of children" and he said that the Cloyne report "revealed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse just three years ago".
But Fr Daly said that the speech was like putting up a 'No Pope Here' sign on Ireland.
"The last European leader to make such a blistering attack on the Pope was the ruthless German dictator Adolf Hitler," he wrote. "Perhaps we might try and find a way to build new bridges with the Shankhill Road people. A 'No Pope Here' sign on the Dail gates would definitely be a draw for Shankill Road people and marchers from Portadown!"
Mr Kenny received dozens of letters and emails of support from Catholics and priests.
But Fr Thomas Daly said that Irish people should be "careful about the canonisation of political leaders".
"Even Hitler had to face that reality. A cautionary tale," he added.
Fine Gael TD Derek Keating said that the letter was completely "over the top".
"As an active and practising Catholic, I am appalled," he said. "Enda Kenny's speech in the Dail last week not only gave leadership in addressing the problem of child abuse in Ireland but, in my opinion, he actually kept people in the church."
Fr Daly has now rowed back on his earlier comments.
"I regret the headline and for the misunderstandings that might have arisen out of it," he said. "I am not comparing Enda Kenny to Hitler.
"I simply meant at the level that exists between states there is a certain level of diplomacy and this went far beyond that."